Barista Jodie Broten (left) works on a coffee beverage at Blenz on Anderson Way

Fundraiser brews up support for VJH

Today’s baristas are going beyond simply steaming the milk and pouring it on top of espresso.

From creating a detailed study of a leaf, to a cat complete with whiskers, today’s baristas are going beyond simply steaming the milk and pouring it on top of espresso.

Latte competitions are held to see who has the gift of creating a tiny work of art in the foamy steamed milk, and on Saturday, baristas will gather from throughout the Okanagan for Latte Art Competition for a Cause.

Sponsored by and Sam Plovie of Chi Solutions, the event takes place at Blenz Coffee on Anderson Way, with proceeds to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation.

“This is the first one, and so I’m hoping  to get the word out to everyone and encourage people to come down to Blenz and have some fun,” said Plovie.

Baristas will have three latte art challenges: the taiji, the yin/yang symbol; the Apple logo; and finally, a signature pour of their choosing.

Judges are Brian Martin of Sun FM, Heath Fletcher with Red Door photography and’s Rich Priske, a professional musician who has played with Bif Naked and the Matthew Good Band.

“I’ll work the floor and encourage people to bid on the finished product, with proceeds going to the hospital,” said Plovie, a local feng shui practitioner. will supply assorted prizes for those in attendance, and one barista will have the chance to win an iPod Touch with accessories.

“And for a donation to Vernon Jubilee Hospital,  you will get an entry to all the door prizes, and yes you have to be present to win,” said Plovie.

Trevor and Caroline Koenig own both Vernon Blenz stores, and community involvement has been important to them since they first opened the doors on their original 30th Avenue spot.

“We like to do these things in our community, because it has the best impact and satisfaction and we like to get involved with what our customers are doing,” said Trevor Koenig, adding that latte art has been a signature for the Blenz chain, and is more than just a pretty picture.

“Ideally, the scenario behind it is if you can get latte art, it means you have to pull a good espresso shot and you have to steam your milk properly, so if you can do latte art, chances are someone has pulled a good shot and made a good-tasting drink.”

Koenig said Saturday’s event is a chance to share a little more awareness about the world of latte art, which actually has an annual world championship held in a different location around the globe.

“Latte art has a huge following and it’s a big culture,” he said. “So this is a way of creating a little more awareness — Blenz was doing latte art first, and every store in the chain has people that can pour art.”

As the baristas work on their latte art, each creation will be shown on the big screen behind the counter, so customers can watch it being poured and then bid on the finished product.

With Blenz supplying all of the milk and coffee, Latte Art Competition for a Cause takes place Saturday at 7 p.m. at Blenz Vernon North,  #101-5100 Anderson Way, across from Superstore.


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